BALDWIN, Wis. (KMSP) - Three Twin Cities residents are dead and another person is hurt after a car accident on Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin Thursday evening, according to a release.
Jeremy Berchem, 27, and two others, 32-year-old Adam Kendhammer and his boyfriend Bryan Rudell, 29, were on the way to a friend's cabin at the time of the accident.
The trio were headed to an annual getaway together, one they looked forward to every summer--leaving their family and friends heartbroken over the sudden and unexpected loss on a week when the men were supposed to be having the time of their lives.
"It's not something you ever expect, especially when he's so young," Ari Wisner, Berchem's neice, said. "He's five years older than me, so it was really hard."
Authorities responded to the Dunn County incident around 5:45 p.m., police said. A black Mitsubishi crossed over the median and drove for almost three miles before striking the grey Kia Soul carrying Berchem and his friends, causing the car to burst into flames and scattering debris across the road and surrounding area. All three men were killed instantly, while the driver of the Mitsubishi was airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
"You don't expect someone to be driving the wrong way down the freeway," Wisner said. "Nothing really matters now, but I hope it was just quick and painless."
Friends say Kendhammer traveled the world before settling down in the Twin Cities, playing rugby for the Minneapolis Mayhem in his spare time. Rudell worked as a designer at a Minneapolis marketing company, and was described by those close to him as a sweet and good hearted person.
"Don't take for granted the days you have with your loved ones," Wisner said. "You don't know when you won't be able to see them again."
The incident is still under investigation.